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Any great Thai / Indian restaurants in the Westside?

m
m3tan Mar 20, 2012 04:14 PM

I moved to LA a few years ago from the SF and really miss the great Indian and Thai food up there! They are my two favorite cuisines but I've yet to find a place in the Westside or let alone LA that would even rate as average in the Bay Area. I know overall for such a big city, LA has the rep of being a vapid culinary desert, but I generally find that only to be true if you stay within the trendy LA LA land circuit. If you wander into the ethnic neighborhoods, there is some great food to be found. I've had great Korean in k-town, Japanese in Torrance, Chinese anywhere near San Gabriel Valley. The question is, where is the great Thai and Indian food??? I'm looking for places in the Westside as we rarely like to drive more than 15 minutes to eat (have kids now) but I'd be willing to travel up to 45-min on occasion but the food needs to be exceptional!

Up in Mountain View there is a fabulous Northern Indian restaurant called Amber. I just ate there last week when I was in the Bay Area, and it made me kinda depressed because I can't find anything in LA which is even remotely close to as good. Even the run-of-the mill Pakistani-Indian fast food hole in the wall in SF (Nan'n Curry for instance) rates better than anything I've had in LA. That's downright pathetic... As to what type of Indian food, I don't care if it is Northern, Southern , Pakistani etc... I pretty much like it all except vegetarian only is not my first choice. Indian places I've tried in Westside:

Dhaba - OK
Akbar - overpriced crap
Nawab - mediocre
Pradeeps - pretentious crap on Montana, may be healthy but tasteless too...
Chandni - horrible buffet, extremely disappointed considering all the hype on Yelp.
India's Oven - don't remember but not memorable.
Jaipur - mediocre
Ambala Dhaba - good the first time, but disappointing my second time
India's Tandoori - some of the worst Indian food I've ever eaten
Chutneys - rates well compared to others on this list but's it's fast food...
Nizam - my favorite Indian place 20 years ago when I went to school here. Either food has gone downhill or my taste buds have matured.
Bombay Cafe - OK but overpriced.
Clay Pit - OK. Closed though.

As for my Thai food experience in the Westside. Some REALLY REALLY disturbing trends: 1) If they give you chop sticks, run for the hills. They rarely if at all use chop sticks in Thailand. The restaurant is run by Chinese. 2) Please don't give me Chinese rice with my red curry. I want jasmine rice like you get in Thailand. 3) If the rice is clumpy, they reused old rice by adding water and microwaving. Again run for the hills. Thai places I've tried (virtually all are guilty of one of the above):

California Vegan - oddly the best Thai food in the Westside
Thai Dishes - tastes like Chinese people making Thai food.
Pot & Pan - meh
T's Thai - crap
Typhoon - I want real Thai not fusion
Siam Chan - cheap fast food
Chan Dara - the worst crap I've ever eaten in my life
Greenview - good the first time, crossed off list after 2nd and 3rd visit.
Natalee - OK
Tuk Tuk - not memorable

I suppose I need to go to Thai Town to get great Thai food but the 2 or 3 places I randomly picked in the past were all underwhelming. Definitely spicier than the bland fare on the Westside but they were all cheap eat hole in the walls with subpar meats and vegetables. In NY and SF you can find authentic Thai and Indian flavors yet using the finest of ingredients. Does such a place exist in LA? I'd think it has to with 15M+ people...

  1. n
    nosh Mar 20, 2012 04:35 PM

    My favorite Thai is Thai Boom on the north side of Venice about midway between Sepulveda and Overland at Midvale. Very good service, reasonable prices (lunch specials good all day, the last I heard), and I've enjoyed just about everything we've ordered there (though nothing has been really spicy). Not a unanimous hit on this board, but well-regarded.

    1 Reply
    1. re: m3tan
      westsidegal Jun 12, 2013 11:05 PM

      imho, when at thai boom,
      go for the SALADS.

      stay away from the noodles.

      as for ekkamai, i used to get their veggie fresh rolls all the time and then they went downhill--they started using romaine lettuce in the filling and either reduced the amount of thai basil that they were using or maybe the romaine mix cancelled it out. can't speak to their other dishes. i tasted their pad thai once and was unimpressed.

    2. Ciao Bob Mar 20, 2012 04:38 PM

      Interesting, true and sad.

      These cuisines are not good at all on the Westside...you may as well throw Chinese in as well.

      The only time I have had first rate Indian on the Westside is when an Indian friend of mine knows the owners or chef, and she asks them to prepare a meal for a group of people making all the sauces fresh, and using higher quality ingredients. We pay a bit more, but it is still relatively inexpensive, but the food is fantastic. She has done these meals at India's Oven (Barrington and Wilshire) and Tanzore (La Cienega). I think the main problem is that Westsiders won't pay for higher quality Indian food (because they have never had it, and don't even know what they are eating now is poorly sourced and prepared)...they just want very inexpensive Indian food with tons of garlic naan.

      As for Thai go to Rodded in Thaitown.

      13 Replies
      1. re: Ciao Bob
        m
        Miri1 Mar 20, 2012 04:46 PM

        There's a small, sort of upscale kosher place on San Vicente and Doheny called Beverly Hills Thai that was converted to kosher a few months ago so you won't find any pork or shellfish, but their food is still really good. And they have a coconut soup that I dream about...it's a small place, easy to miss, but the soup alone is worth the search!

        1. re: Ciao Bob
          m
          m3tan Mar 20, 2012 05:06 PM

          You're right about Chinese food on the Westside. Thankfully my parents live in Pasadena so we go to SG Valley often. You can pretty much throw a dart and find a great Chinese restaurant there. Actually we found a passable Thai place there too but it's really LAME that there isn't once decent Thai place on the Westside for those times we crave it for takeout or lunch...

          1. re: m3tan
            Servorg Mar 20, 2012 05:13 PM

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/752702

            1. re: m3tan
              c
              CulverJack Mar 21, 2012 12:42 PM

              Agree with nosh and Servorg - in my search the best WS Thai is at Thai Boom and Ekkamai. If you think Natalee is OK you should really like both of these, I'm betting. Be up front about how you want your food served (how spicy, which sort of rice, etc.), both should be great for you.

              1. re: CulverJack
                j
                JTea Mar 31, 2012 02:08 PM

                Another vote for Thai Boom. Nice folks; we've added them as a vendor for in-office lunch meetings. Haven't tried Ekkamai; it is a bit far for us, and last we read here, their deliberate pace made it difficult to imagine going there in a normal lunch hour.

                1. re: JTea
                  omotosando Mar 31, 2012 09:43 PM

                  I went to Thai Boom once based on recommendations on this Board. Eh. I mean you could say it is good compared to Natalee or Tuk Tuk, which are God-awful, but that's not saying much.

                  1. re: omotosando
                    e
                    epop Jun 23, 2012 10:36 PM

                    agree with Omotosando. Thai Boom was not worth the evening, at all.

            2. re: Ciao Bob
              w
              writebites Apr 7, 2012 10:09 PM

              would love to talk to your friend as I'm planning a dinner at India's Oven. also, anybody know of any Bengali restaurants in Greater L.A.?

              1. re: writebites
                s
                suvro Apr 25, 2012 11:02 AM

                Bengali as from the state of West Bengal in India? There are none.
                Bengali as in Bangladeshi - plenty - most of the Bangladeshi stores cook and sell food.
                Little Dhaka in Artesia - http://www.yelp.com/biz/little-dhaka-artesia
                Aladin Sweets and Market in Hollywood - http://www.yelp.com/biz/aladin-sweets-and-market-los-angeles
                Deshi - http://www.yelp.com/biz/deshi-food-an...

              2. re: Ciao Bob
                m
                m3tan Jun 12, 2013 06:10 PM

                LOL! Small world Bob! You're the one who wrote this comment I was referring to today about the owner preparing a special meal!

                1. re: m3tan
                  Ciao Bob Jun 12, 2013 10:27 PM

                  That IS funny - the world is small, and the chow-world even smaller. And, this is a great thread you started!

                  For Thai, I think Thor123 has it right when he mentions Night+Market and Emporium Thai on Westwood. And I always trust both Dommy and Servorg when they shout something(s) out - have you tried Mayura (Indian) or Ekkamai (Thai)? I have not, but I will, now that I am Westside (adjacent).

                  I think your mentions of Si Laa and Lawrence of India deserve some more reviews here on CH LA. Very few mentions of either - at least one poster says Lawrence is no more...hope that's not correct.

                  Maybe the "Silicon Beach" marketing scheme will help us with Indian as time goes by. I stand by my original post from a year ago - arrange a dinner at even the worst Indian in town, ask them to do it right (or have an Indian friend do it)and you are likely to have a beautiful experience.

                  And try SHUNJI!

                  1. re: Ciao Bob
                    PaulF Jun 13, 2013 06:54 AM

                    Sorry CB -- Lawrence of India is currently not in service.

                2. re: Ciao Bob
                  n
                  ns1 Jun 12, 2013 09:49 PM

                  Man I had a terrible, terrible meal at Rodded.

                3. c
                  CulverJack Mar 21, 2012 12:46 PM

                  For Indian I think two of the better spots are Annapurna and Mayura, both in Culver City. I wouldn't call either "using the finest ingredients", though. But these are among the best either my family or Indian friends who are willing to make do on the WS sometimes have found...

                  You might also try Samosa House - I didn't see that on your list.

                  Agree Nizam used to be great and fit what you are talking about quite well. I haven't been back in 4-5 years, but I thought it wasn't what it used to be.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CulverJack
                    m
                    m3tan Mar 21, 2012 02:17 PM

                    I think Nizam has definitely gone downhill. It's still the same owner but he retired about 8 years ago and relatives are running it now. They are nice people (husband, wife, and kids) but it's nothing like it used to be...

                  2. m
                    m3tan Mar 21, 2012 02:15 PM

                    Has anyone tried Si Laa on Robertson? Yelpers seem to like it. They describe it as upscale and unpretentious so maybe it has hope for meeting my criteria for better ingredients. I don't mind paying more when I know I'm getting more...

                    1. c
                      Clyde Mar 21, 2012 03:17 PM

                      I 100% agree with your take on Chan Dara! I haven't tried any of the other Thai places you've been disappointed with BUT I do have a suggestion for you. Joom. I used to live a few blocks away and boy do I miss having good thai walking distance. I used to always get the same things-- wonderful Pad Se Ew, Delish Green Curry, and when i really needed some comfort food I'd get the orange tofu lunch special. It was crunchy and sweet, just what i needed on a bad day. I also like the Tom Yum Kha as well. I'd sometimes order that with some brown rice and it was a perfect meal. Joom is located at Beverly just east of Fairfax in a little strip mall.
                      I've also been to Galanga Thai which was mentioned on this board a few times so I finally checked it out myself. The first time I was bummed b/c i ordered the lunch special with panang curry and there was hardly any curry-- i ate it in two seconds and had tons of rice left over. The second time I ordered pad se ew and it was really good and i didn't leave hungry, but you must know i can't eat a lot in one sitting which is also why i couldn't believe i left hungry the first time. I guess just don't go for the lunch special, is my advice here. I haven't found any other thai place over here that's been as good as the two i've mentioned. Sorry, I got nothing on Indian food for you...

                      1. a
                        AlkieGourmand Mar 22, 2012 08:51 AM

                        Indian and Thai (and perhaps any ethnic cuisine other than Persian) are definitely weak points in West LA. I agree with others re Thai Boom being a good Thai restaurant. I certainly do not think there is any "great" Indian restaurant on the Westside. I order delivery from India's Oven reasonably often because the food is not bad.

                        21 Replies
                        1. re: AlkieGourmand
                          b
                          bulavinaka Mar 31, 2012 06:46 PM

                          >>(and perhaps any ethnic cuisine other than Persian) are definitely weak points in West LA.<<

                          Japanese and Mexican are pretty good to great in the Westside. Simpang Asia is great considering how thin SE Asian cuisine is in LA period. In general, I think most areas are weak in many cuisines other than what the respective area excels in. It goes without saying, but LA is full of enclaves...

                          1. re: bulavinaka
                            a
                            AlkieGourmand Mar 31, 2012 09:48 PM

                            I used to think LA has good Japanese food -- before I lived in Japan. Now I think LA has decent sushi and that's about it.

                            Simpang Asia is good. I like Ramayani as well for Indonesian -- but I'm not a big fan of Indonesian cuisine generally.

                            1. re: AlkieGourmand
                              b
                              bulavinaka Apr 1, 2012 07:45 AM

                              >>I used to think LA has good Japanese food -- before I lived in Japan. Now I think LA has decent sushi and that's about it.<<

                              Not meaning to be snarky, but you keep moving the target. So when do we end with the qualifiers? It's like someone in NYC lamenting, "You know - this this town has no nice churches."

                              "Well, there's a fair amount of impressive Catholic churches in town. There's St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Thomas Church, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle to name a few."

                              "I used to think NYC had impressive Catholic churches - before I lived in Vatican City. Now I think churches like St. Patrick's are decent and that's about it."

                              "St. Januarius Catholic Church in Naples, New York is quite avante garde in architectural style."

                              "It is, but I'm not a big fan of avante garde architecture when it comes to churches...."

                              Scratching head and sighing ...

                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                l
                                latindancer Apr 1, 2012 08:08 AM

                                Excellent point and one that gives me great pause for thought on this beautiful, sunny LA day...
                                Where we all have the advantage of walking to our favorite Farmer's Market days where the temperature rarely falls below 60 degrees.
                                What a great , great city.
                                Thanks bulavinaka.

                                1. re: latindancer
                                  d
                                  Dirtywextraolives Aug 2, 2012 05:56 PM

                                  Agree =)

                              2. re: AlkieGourmand
                                m
                                m3tan Apr 1, 2012 10:46 AM

                                I don't think you are going to the right places then. My wife is Japanese and so she has a ton of friends who are from Japan. The consensus amongst them is that the Japanese food in LA is easily the best in North America and several places are every bit as good as you would find in Japan - but many of them are not well known to non-Japanese. What are you looking for besides sushi? Izakaya? Ramen? Teppanyaki? Yakitori? Nabe? I could provide plenty of recommendations.

                                1. re: m3tan
                                  b
                                  budlit Apr 1, 2012 11:32 AM

                                  I would love to know your recommendations for all types. Especially Westside.
                                  Thanks

                                  1. re: budlit
                                    echoparkdirt Apr 1, 2012 03:06 PM

                                    Yes yes ramen

                                    1. re: m3tan
                                      omotosando Apr 2, 2012 08:35 PM

                                      So sorry to hear that Tsukiji is closed. Used to love that place.

                                  2. re: m3tan
                                    w
                                    writebites Apr 25, 2012 11:24 AM

                                    I'd love some good Japanese restos that are not well known to non-Jap. fire away!

                                    1. re: m3tan
                                      s
                                      simieats Nov 8, 2012 05:56 PM

                                      Super late on this thread, but m3tan, how about soba? I've read the threads on the LA boards, and the consensus seems to be to go to Gardena, but I was wondering your thoughts. There's a place in NYC called Cocoron that's doing pretty cutting edge soba even for Tokyo (so say my Japanese short order cook friends), and I want to find something similar here, if it exists. Hoping there is a place on Sawtelle that is secretly killing it in the soba dept.

                                      1. re: simieats
                                        n
                                        ns1 Nov 8, 2012 06:09 PM

                                        go to gardena

                                        1. re: simieats
                                          Servorg Nov 8, 2012 06:25 PM

                                          2 minutes from Sawtelle I would recommend Yabu on Pico just west of Barrington.

                                          http://www.yaburestaurant.com/losange...

                                          1. re: Servorg
                                            n
                                            ns1 Nov 8, 2012 06:28 PM

                                            oh snap, thanks.

                                            1. re: Servorg
                                              s
                                              simieats Nov 8, 2012 06:38 PM

                                              I do like Yabu, but I think the soba is fine, not great. It hits the spot, I like the mellow, neighborhood vibe, and I like a lot of their small plates. But the soba I've had at Cocoron is transcendent, to the point that I had not considered myself a soba person until I ate theirs and realized I'd only been eating mediocre soba up until that point. They do a hot dip soba, where you dip the cold noodles in hot broth, so the noodles don't overcook. That's my favorite, hoping someone here is doing that trend too.

                                              I could eat good soba 2-3 times a week, but can't get to Gardena that often. I might be SOL!

                                          2. re: m3tan
                                            a
                                            AlkieGourmand Apr 29, 2013 06:36 PM

                                            When I lived in Japan, I ate on the very high end--e.g., countless Michelin-starred kaiseke restaurants and a three-starred tempura restaurant. That level of quality simply doesn't exist in the United States (except for sushi).

                                            To put it differently, there are hundreds of Michelin-starred Japanese restaurants in Tokyo, most of which don't serve sushi, but the only Japanese restaurants in LA that are contenders for Michelin stars are sushi places.

                                            That said, there are plenty of Japanese restaurants in LA that are similar to solid Japanese restaurants in Tokyo.

                                            1. re: AlkieGourmand
                                              m
                                              m3tan Apr 29, 2013 07:16 PM

                                              We go to Japan almost every year so it's easy for me to directly compare. I'd say the BEST Japanese restaurants in LA are about the same level as GOOD in Japan. So I completely agree with your assessment but stand by my assertion LA has the best Japanese food in the US by a long shot. Once you've had the real deal, all the Japanese fare but in a handful of US cities is basically inedible...

                                              1. re: m3tan
                                                d
                                                Dirtywextraolives Apr 29, 2013 07:51 PM

                                                Jeez, my foodie Japanese-American friend, who goes there regularly to visit her brother & sister in law, has never categorized the Japanese food here like that at all, and she's very picky, and an accomplished chef herself....... You seem to be a very tough crowd.....

                                                1. re: m3tan
                                                  Mr Taster 1 day ago

                                                  > I'd say the BEST Japanese restaurants in LA are about the same level as GOOD in Japan.

                                                  Urasawa.

                                                  Hyperbole has a way of getting you into trouble, m3tan.

                                                  Mr Taster

                                              2. re: m3tan
                                                a
                                                andi3 Apr 29, 2013 10:28 PM

                                                I would appreciate your recommendations and so would my Japanese foodie friends. we'll go anywhere. thank you!

                                              3. re: AlkieGourmand
                                                e
                                                epop Jun 23, 2012 10:37 PM

                                                True that, it doesn't compare, but L.A. could have the best Japanese food outside of Japan.

                                          3. e
                                            Ernie Mar 22, 2012 11:55 AM

                                            Check out Si Laa on Robertson. These are the same owners of the excellent upscale/fusiony Naraya Thai which closed down

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Ernie
                                              m
                                              m3tan Jul 22, 2012 06:24 PM

                                              I've been to Si Laa a couple times now and it definitely the best Thai restaurant I've been to in LA. It ranks right up there with some of the top Thai restaurants in SF. It's kind of pricey despite not really being in "Beverly Hills" but food is top notch. The decor is very nice, e.g. excellent for a date, and the service is very friendly. Best of all it's family run. So I'm happy to report that half of my search (Thai) is over. Next up is Lawrence of India and I'm really keeping my fingers crossed...

                                              1. re: m3tan
                                                e
                                                Ernie Jul 24, 2012 05:38 PM

                                                Glad you liked it and happy to hear they have kept up the quality that I experienced at Naraya a while ago.

                                              2. re: Ernie
                                                Servorg Jul 23, 2012 05:59 AM

                                                http://www.silaathai.com/index.html

                                                1. re: Ernie
                                                  liu Nov 12, 2012 02:40 PM

                                                  We went to Si Laa this past Saturday night. At about 6:00, we were the only diners. Before 7:00, two other tables were occupied.

                                                  The restaurant is very pretty, and our service was extremely friendly and helpful. The dishes were served with attention to presentation. Because of all of this, I wanted to LOVE it! The food was very good and the Thai spices came through. However, I would have liked a little more heat...and some fish sauce to know that I was eating Thai food.

                                                  I liked Si Laa a lot, but the food was a little bland for my tastes. If I were to dine here again, perhaps I could request more spice in my dishes. I do want them to do well!

                                                2. l
                                                  Lambster Mar 31, 2012 07:42 PM

                                                  Has anyone tried (and liked) Bombay Palace on Wilshire? I checked out the menu online and it's one of the few Indian places where I've found lamb pasanda.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Lambster
                                                    f
                                                    foodiemahoodie Apr 3, 2012 12:01 AM

                                                    I haven't been there in years, but I have good memories of it. And they've been sending me a birthday card for at least 10 years.

                                                    Great Indian food can't be had here. Not sure why. You do see it in London (there a few Indian restaurants with Michelin stars - and they're pricy and taste like Indian food with fresh ingrediants, vibrant (but not spicy) flavors. Not sure if that would work in LA. I'd go.

                                                    Thai food - I find there are two kinds in L.A. - good (and they all seem about the same) and bad. Nothing great that. I liked Jitlada a lot, but have only been once (and they have a different, much more varied menu than the rest - so it's hard to compare). I do frequent Bangkok Thai on Santa Monica - very pretty place, and the food is not bad.

                                                  2. omotosando Mar 31, 2012 09:26 PM

                                                    No, there is no good Thai food on the Westside.

                                                    Yes, there is a lot of mediocre Northern Indian food on the Westside. For Indian nowadays, I am really enjoying the Southern Indian food at Mayura on Venice and Motor. http://mayura-indian-restaurant.com/ It's not fancy. It's not the best Indian food I've had, but some of the dishes are really excellent and it's cheap and convenient. It's thronged with South Indian families.

                                                    I just had the buffet for lunch today. $12.95 includes the buffet, a free drink (a pretty good mango lassi) and a plain dosa. The buffet today had a killer spicy mango chutney. The dosas are excellent. My favorite thing at Mayura is the appam -- when they are brought out steaming hot (this is not part of the buffet) and dipped into something spicy -- it's as heavenly as anything you might eat at some 4 star restaurant. The one thing I haven't yet had at Mayura and which I want to try is the uttapam - they have a half dozen different ones. I do like the uttapam at Bombay Cafe (I think they only have one variety), but Mayura is just cheaper, easier and more fun. Given all the women in saris and little Indian children running around, it gives me the illusion that I am in India. I don't think I ever recall seeing any customers in saris at Bombay Cafe.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: omotosando
                                                      b
                                                      bulavinaka Mar 31, 2012 09:33 PM

                                                      I spoke with Mayura's owner a couple of times, and he told me that he makes regular trips to India (I think it was about once a month) to secure certain special ingredients that he feels are superior there and essential to his dishes. That's a long way to go for keeping things his way...

                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                        omotosando Mar 31, 2012 09:39 PM

                                                        I can believe that. I'm sure at their price point, they are not using the highest quality meat and fish, but for instance, when I have ordered the shrimp curry, I really enjoyed it because of the freshness of the herbs and spices.

                                                        My only complaint is that sometimes the food has come out a bit lukewarm. Also, the one dish I was disappointed in was the Kerala Special Avial. I don't know if it is because I'm not a huge okra fan or if it was because it was one of the dishes that came out lukewarm. The night everything came out lukewarm they were slammed by a huge Indian tour group, so perhaps that explained the problem.

                                                        1. re: omotosando
                                                          Servorg Apr 1, 2012 06:22 AM

                                                          Looks like there might be a new contender for Indian on the west side to give a test run (just for the food fun of it): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/841848

                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                            j
                                                            Jase Apr 2, 2012 02:58 PM

                                                            I would be curious to see what the more knowledgeable Indian food posters would have to say about Lawrence of India. I know I liked it but I don't have enough experience to frame my take against how it does compared to others of it's kind.

                                                            1. re: Jase
                                                              c
                                                              condiment Jun 22, 2012 05:47 PM

                                                              Theoretically, Lawrence has Goan dishes different from anything else in L.A., but they seem to be rather indifferently prepared. I keep going back, hoping for something great - the chef was reputed to be the best Indian chef in town for years, at grander restaurants - but with little success. Maybe lightning will strike? I hope so!

                                                    2. b
                                                      budlit Apr 1, 2012 06:50 AM

                                                      Not on the Westside, but Jitlada is definitely worth the drive to Hollywood for Thai food.

                                                      1. b
                                                        BSW6490 Apr 2, 2012 10:35 AM

                                                        Have not been but Night Market just opened on Sunset in West Hollywood next to Talesai. Its the same owner and supposed to be a high end take on Thai street food. Checked out the menu and it looks interesting and unusual.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: BSW6490
                                                          b
                                                          BSW6490 Apr 2, 2012 11:46 AM

                                                          Here is a link to a Jonathan Gold review

                                                          http://www.laweekly.com/2011-10-20/ea...

                                                        2. j
                                                          Jwsel Apr 2, 2012 01:27 PM

                                                          I didn't see it mentioned, but when I used to live near the Beverly Center, our go-to Indian was India's Grill in the triangle at La Cienega/San Vicente (in a strip mall accessible from San Vicente). I wouldn't call it great, but I consider it better than just about any of the restaurants you listed.

                                                          Are Al Noor and Al Watan not considered westside, since they are in Hawthorne and Lawndale. Both are excellent Pakistani/Indian.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Jwsel
                                                            m
                                                            m3tan Apr 2, 2012 04:38 PM

                                                            Since I live in Santa Monica, anything south of the 10 or east of the 405 barely qualifies as "Westside". I'm half joking-half serious. It's just too damn difficult to get a sitter, fight through traffic, etc... to try out a new place that might not even be any good. I think I'm going to try out Si Laa, Lawrence of India, and maybe Night Market but all three are a little further then I hoped...

                                                            1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                                              i
                                                              ilysla Apr 2, 2012 07:11 PM

                                                              Having moved from Century City to Brentwood late last year, I have to say that there is NO good way to cross the 405 eastbound in the early evening, if you need to stay close to Wilshire. There are simply less worse ways. And I even have a VA sticker! (they close the gates early on Friday evening.... rrr....)

                                                              At any rate, I'd normally agree about India's Grill (which I love and which my indian friends think is pretty good), but when my partner and I visited about 2 months ago, they had a "C" rating. I normally don't pay too much attention to those ratings, but a "C" seems kind of low....

                                                              Have been to Crown of India (Hollywood) once and Al Noor (also once) and enjoyed both greatly. My Indian friend recommended All India Cafe in Pasadena ~10 yrs ago. I thought the food was kind of bland, but they do have a branch on the westside....

                                                            2. re: Jwsel
                                                              c
                                                              Clyde Apr 2, 2012 05:12 PM

                                                              Regarding India's Grill - i've never been but coincidentally just passed by it and was told that someone - and i can't remember WHO- but he owns restaurants IN LA, darn my memory-- said that it was the best Indian food he's had in LA. Shoot, wish i could remember the entire story but anyway, I've been meaning to check it out since i heard the rave review.

                                                            3. echoparkdirt Apr 3, 2012 01:57 AM

                                                              has anyone gone to India Sweet and Spice on Venice in Culver?

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: echoparkdirt
                                                                b
                                                                Bjartmarr Apr 3, 2012 09:54 AM

                                                                Yes. It's the standard steam table vegetarian buffet, similar to all the other India Sweets and Spices storefronts, but perhaps a little better and a little more expensive than most. Worth stopping by if you're in the area, but not worth a trip.

                                                                1. re: Bjartmarr
                                                                  echoparkdirt Apr 8, 2012 05:20 PM

                                                                  i went there, won't return. samosa was undercooked. prices were too high. mediocre.

                                                                  1. re: echoparkdirt
                                                                    b
                                                                    BrewNChow Apr 8, 2012 05:33 PM

                                                                    I had the same reaction, try bawarchi, it's the same idea but a much better version

                                                                    1. re: BrewNChow
                                                                      v
                                                                      VenusCafe Apr 6, 2013 02:08 PM

                                                                      The India Sweet and Spices in Los Feliz is the only good one.

                                                              2. b
                                                                BrewNChow Apr 8, 2012 01:49 AM

                                                                Bawarchi deserves mention in this thread, bigtime.

                                                                I love meat. I really do. It really takes a lot for a vegetarian place to knock my socks off. Bawarchi is legit. The chef is passionate and his food is interesting and delicious. The dishes with faux meat are all great and they're the best faux meat dishes I've ever had. It's also a great value, you get rice, salad, naan and 3 curries for 9 bucks. They have about 89232983577u32089743 curries to choose from. That's not a typo, they actually have such a high number of curries that there's a U in there somewhere.

                                                                is it GREAT? Maybe not GREAT. But very good and better than any indian I've found on the westside so far, although I have a few new places on my radar I have yet to try. My favorite at bawarchi is the jalapeno curry

                                                                1. m
                                                                  michaelmas Apr 9, 2012 11:49 AM

                                                                  I'd recommend Ayara in Westchester for Thai.
                                                                  It's a little out of the way for me (I'm in Culver) and probably more so for someone in Santa Monica, but I've always enjoyed the meals I've had there. I don't know if it can compete with the best of ThaiTown, but I find they get the flavors right - assertive but balanced - and the food always seems very fresh. My favorite dishes have been the laarb, prik khing beans, and pork belly.

                                                                  I might try Moo Moo cafe on Venice soon - has anyone been there recently?

                                                                  As for Indian, I can recommend Lawrence of India. Most Northern Indian restaurants serve food that tastes the same to me, but Lawrence's take on these dishes surprised me. I find the flavors clean and unique, if that makes any sense. It's not a beautiful, sumptuous dining room by any means, but I've eaten in and taken out and enjoyed it both times.

                                                                  1. c
                                                                    calisummer Apr 30, 2012 05:34 PM

                                                                    For Thai on the westside, we like Bangkok West. Its pricey for the portions, but its the only place I've found that doesn't do the super sweet pad thai. All the dishes we've had from them (from curries to veggies to fish) have been good. (They also deliver, a big plus!) Usually we'll head to Thai Town on the weekend--about 30 min away--Ruen Pair is our favorite.

                                                                    For Chinese we like Hop Li on Santa Monica Blvd in West LA--reminds me of Silver House in San Mateo--fast, good portions and good homey food

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: calisummer
                                                                      e
                                                                      epop Jun 23, 2012 10:39 PM

                                                                      I had their salmon dish and it was so rank as to be impossible to return (bangkok west)

                                                                    2. t
                                                                      truliketrudat Jun 22, 2012 04:42 PM

                                                                      For Thai food I like Talay Thai (near Sawtelle and Santa Monica Blvd). I am saddened by the fact that I moved out of their delivery radius last year.
                                                                      My BF and I love the roasted duck fried rice, pad see ew, green curry, and tom kha kai. The hainan rice is a disappointment though since they use boneless skinless chunks.

                                                                      For Indian food I go to either Samosa House East (veggie chicken in butter sauce is wonderful) or my neighborhood joint, Taj Mahal of India, which specializes in mostly northern and Pakistani curries. It is just west of Pico and La Cienega Blvds.

                                                                      Lately I've been on a saag paneer kick but the korma, karachi, makhani, okra bhuna, achaar, and coconut malai curries are all good. You can have the curries with various meat options but have a good sized veggie menu too.

                                                                      I found the tikka masala a bit too sweet for my liking though. They have excellent naan (plain is the best since it is the most pillowy and soft) and tasty paratha. The samosa and onion bhaji are good appetizers too.

                                                                      1. t
                                                                        Thor123 Jun 23, 2012 01:04 PM

                                                                        I recently tried Night and Market on Sunset just east of Doheney. Its a high end, in a very casual setting, take on Thai street food. Really unique and worth going.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Thor123
                                                                          perk Jun 23, 2012 10:40 PM

                                                                          I keep reading about that place, and hearing really good things. What did you have?

                                                                        2. m
                                                                          magiccat Jul 7, 2012 09:30 PM

                                                                          It may be that my taste has been dumbed down by the available food but I like Bombay Cafe a great deal compared to most of the Indian food - Northern, Southern or otherwise, that I have found on the Westside. Good meat, truly spicy vindaloo, multiple pickles...

                                                                          1. d
                                                                            DrRich Jul 21, 2012 01:04 PM

                                                                            Has anyone tried Tahntawan in Marina del Rey? Its in the vacated Aunt Kizzy/Killer Shrimp spot, upstairs next to Mosto. Like Sevong and nosh, I like Ekkamai and find Thai Boom ok but wandered into Tahntawan, as I live close by, and was impressed. Its no Jitlada but for me its the best on the westside.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: DrRich
                                                                              n
                                                                              New Trial Jul 21, 2012 03:58 PM

                                                                              I was underwhelmed by the food and service (rather disorganized) but they had not been open that long and I will probably give them another shot; however, based on that first experience, I would say that Ekkami is significantly better.

                                                                            2. PeterCC Jul 21, 2012 08:03 PM

                                                                              What do people think of Tandoor India on Pico in Santa Monica? We're no Indian cuisine experts, but it's been the only place that we can find where the Chicken Tikka Masala (authentic or not, it's my wife's favorite dish) does not set off my wife's acid reflux and GERD.

                                                                              1. westsidegal Jul 22, 2012 11:46 AM

                                                                                m3tan:
                                                                                re: nizam
                                                                                20 years ago i, too, thought it was great.
                                                                                now, just like you, not so much
                                                                                sadly, it definitely has gone downhill.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                  m
                                                                                  m3tan Jul 22, 2012 06:27 PM

                                                                                  We had Nizam for take out last weekend and it was surprisingly good. I'd kinda lost faith in that place after several consecutive mediocre meals. It's definitely not what it was 20 years ago, but last Saturday was a reminder that on a good night, it can be one of the better Indian places on the Westside.

                                                                                  1. re: m3tan
                                                                                    westsidegal Jul 23, 2012 10:05 AM

                                                                                    even if it is, on occasion, better than it was at it's worst, for me, that's not enough to justify the driving and the calories.

                                                                                    15 years ago i used to eat there regularly with a friend and his daughter and his grandchild.
                                                                                    he has since passed away.
                                                                                    he had a remarkably good palate.
                                                                                    too heartbreaking to eat lousy/mediocre food there now.

                                                                                2. echoparkdirt Jul 23, 2012 12:41 PM

                                                                                  The only Asian places I've found worthy on the West Side is Zam Zam Market for amazing Pakistani food and Jasmine for great Burmese food.

                                                                                  My advice is to skip the fruitless search for great Indian, Chinese, or Thai on the Westside and stick to our wonderful Persian places...

                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: echoparkdirt
                                                                                    m
                                                                                    m3tan Jul 23, 2012 02:00 PM

                                                                                    The problem is Persian food, though good, is nothing like Indian, Chinese, or Thai. To me that's like saying give up on French, Italian, and German food because there are wonderful Polish places...

                                                                                    1. re: m3tan
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      magiccat Jul 23, 2012 06:00 PM

                                                                                      Right, but I think you are confusing it with Pakistani food, which is a whole different thing and to my palate much like Indian food.

                                                                                      Persian food is basically middle eastern rather than southeast Asian.

                                                                                      1. re: magiccat
                                                                                        b
                                                                                        bulavinaka Jul 24, 2012 05:10 PM

                                                                                        As for countries relative to the cuisines described in this thread:

                                                                                        India and Pakistan are in South Asia.

                                                                                        Thailand, Burma and Indonesia are in Southeast Asia.

                                                                                        China and Japan are in East Asia.

                                                                                        Iran is technically West Asia but directly borders South Asia.

                                                                                        imho, only a small portion of Persian cuisine is similar to the Middle Eastern cuisines. Many Persian eateries will offer non-Persian dishes like hummus because many (imho uninformed) diners will request and expect such dishes.

                                                                                        1. re: magiccat
                                                                                          m
                                                                                          m3tan Jul 24, 2012 08:03 PM

                                                                                          No confusion here. I'm very well aware of the difference. Echoparkdirt advised that I stick to Persian places but frankly I find them very repetitive and nothing like Thai, Chinese, or Indian. Perhaps there are places with more variety, but almost all the restaurants around Westwood have 80% kabob and then 4 or 5 stews like fesenjan, gheymeh, bademjan, and ghormeh sabzi...

                                                                                      2. re: echoparkdirt
                                                                                        Ciao Bob Jul 24, 2012 08:26 AM

                                                                                        Jasnine is Burmese? I see alot of Indian and Paki dishes but not Burmese like I just had in San fran at Mandalay.

                                                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob
                                                                                          b
                                                                                          BrewNChow Jul 25, 2012 01:08 AM

                                                                                          Yeah it's Burmese, it's just owned by Muslims. A lot of Burmese people are Muslims and the indo/pak food is part of their culture, so most Burmese places in the city have a mix of the traditional, Asian style Burmese and the Muslim dishes.

                                                                                          Jasmine has dinner and weekend specials with more traditional Burmese dishes, like mohinga soup and various salads (no tea leaf, unfortunately).

                                                                                          m3tan, Zam Zam is the very best. Your search for good Indian ends with their chicken tikka and biryani, but they do not have any curry or really a menu to speak of. You eat what they have. If you want good curry, I personally like Bawarchi but it's vegetarian and there might be better curries around for all I know.

                                                                                          Since you seem to want some different Persian experiences (I totally understand that), try Attari for their sandwiches and soups (I like the ash joe, comes with baguette). Also, Naan Hut makes this amazing sangak flatbread. They make some different stuff with it like a sangak pizza. Both are much cheaper than the other restaurants too.

                                                                                          1. re: BrewNChow
                                                                                            m
                                                                                            m3tan Jul 25, 2012 08:46 AM

                                                                                            Thanks I don't really think Indian food is complete without curry but I'll be sure to check out Zam Zam as well. I'm noticing a trend that most of the recommended places are in Culver City or BHPO area. This just reconfirms that the food in Santa Monica / Brentwood is pretty awful unless you want Italian, Sushi, or California Cuisine...

                                                                                            1. re: m3tan
                                                                                              b
                                                                                              BrewNChow Jul 25, 2012 07:29 PM

                                                                                              The rent's too high in that area for random ethnic food. That's the problem really.

                                                                                              Also, definitely check out Simpang Asia. It's Indonesian food, which is sort of like Thai with a twist. A really interesting, fun, and most importantly delicious cuisine. There are no avoids on the menu, and no real must haves either besides the Kangkung. If you get a rice dish, I suggest having them sub out the plain rice for coconut or turmeric rice. Great place, low prices, not far from you.

                                                                                              For Ramayani, suggested below, It's very good too and a nice change of pace, but it's much more hit and miss than Simpang, more expensive, and generally just not as good as Simpang. For example, the kangkung at Ramayani was so oversalted it was a total drainpour. I even tried to rinse it off in a sieve first.

                                                                                              1. re: BrewNChow
                                                                                                Servorg Jul 25, 2012 07:36 PM

                                                                                                I also think that Ramayani for Indonesian food is worth road testing...on Westwood Blvd. just south of the Village: https://sites.google.com/site/herthat...

                                                                                      3. f
                                                                                        foodiemahoodie Jul 23, 2012 02:21 PM

                                                                                        You're too kind to Thai Dishes - especially the one on Wilshire.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                                                                          a
                                                                                          AlkieGourmand Apr 29, 2013 07:48 PM

                                                                                          The one on Santa Monica and Ocean is not HORRIBLE. I think the chicken satay is quite good. To be sure, most of the dishes are mediocre and I certainly would not recommend eating there, but the same can be said for almost every restaurant in the area.

                                                                                        2. n
                                                                                          ns1 Jul 23, 2012 06:13 PM

                                                                                          " I know overall for such a big city, LA has the rep of being a vapid culinary desert"

                                                                                          This is most certainly NOT the LA that I moved to.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: ns1
                                                                                            Dommy Jul 24, 2012 07:00 PM

                                                                                            I know... I also love how a restaurant from mountain view was also mentioned... like that wasn't an hour out of SF on a good day... What is about moving to the Westside that makes people allergic to traveling more than 30 minutes for a meal?

                                                                                            Anyway, in response of the post, YES, just like in SF, NY, Mexico, Japan, etc... there certain things in L.A. you'll have to drive for. But as a Westsider myself, along with some of the other places mentioned, I have been very happy with...

                                                                                            The Curries and Dosas at Mayura are wonderful. I've never had any problem with the taste or quality of their ingredients...

                                                                                            The housemade sausage at Lawrence of India is one of my favorite dishes of the year.

                                                                                            WRT Thai... I've always been happy with the ingredients they use at Ayara Thai...

                                                                                            And Moo Moo Thai has FINALLY given us a decent soup noodle house, they used to be a market, so they know good sources for ingredients...

                                                                                            --Dommy!

                                                                                            1. re: Dommy
                                                                                              PaulF Jul 24, 2012 07:09 PM

                                                                                              I like Moo Moo Thai for soups as well. Though, I have to say, some of the soups are sweeter than I expected. I prefer the more savory dishes. The stew chicken noodle soup and the moo moo noodle soup were both too sweet for my taste. On the other hand, the Kouy Jub was really nice. It's much milder than a bowl of ramen, but still very savory and tasty.

                                                                                              1. re: Dommy
                                                                                                m
                                                                                                m3tan Jul 24, 2012 07:54 PM

                                                                                                By quoting me out of context, you've completely distorted what I said. I stated in spite of that reputation, LA does have some excellent food. My contention is that the Hollywood crowd adds little or nothing to the quality of food in town. Some of most overrated restaurants are on La Cienaga's Restaurant Row. It's the huge Korean, Persian, Chinese, Japaneses etc... populations that really raise the bar overall here - but you generally must drive to those neighborhoods. It was my experience when I lived in NYC and SF that an excellent example of almost every type of cuisine could be found within a 10 sq mile radius. I was born and raised here and would say that is definitely not true of LA.

                                                                                                BTW The original Amber is in Mountain View but there is one in downtown SF. I was staying in Sunnyvale so the Mountain View Amber was a 5 minute drive.

                                                                                                1. re: m3tan
                                                                                                  e
                                                                                                  Ernie Jul 24, 2012 08:35 PM

                                                                                                  Within a 10-mile radius of Downtown Los Angeles, excellent Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, regional Mexican, Central American, etc. are all available

                                                                                            2. Keith Gilabert Aug 2, 2012 10:27 AM

                                                                                              Hello,

                                                                                              You can try Pradeeps on Montana Ave in Santa Monica.

                                                                                              Very authentic and full of spices.

                                                                                              1. y
                                                                                                yooj2 Nov 17, 2012 04:21 PM

                                                                                                Cholada on PCH just west of Topanga is the among the best if not the best Thai on the Westside. Soups are well-balanced, and the green papaya has a full range of flavor. Bathroom is a biohazard, although the hot water is reassuringly scalding. Parking can be tricky, and the wine offerings are abysmal. But although it's further from West Los Angeles proper than lesser options, it's closer thanEast Hollywood, and for Westsiders, short of fighting gridlock to and from there, one is hard pressed to find tastier Thai.

                                                                                                1. v
                                                                                                  VenusCafe Apr 6, 2013 01:55 PM

                                                                                                  Amazing that in spite of Jonathan Gold and your being on Chowhound posting the above rant, Mthre, you do not mention Jitlada, probably the best known Thai in SoCal.
                                                                                                  But don't burn your precious lil tongue on the Jungle curry.
                                                                                                  I think your built-in SF attitude, about LA being a "vapid culinary desert" have sabotaged your quest for our great food. I am a Thai food lover and NONE of the restaurants I enjoy are even on your list; however, after my Jitlada rec, you are on your own in what I personally consider the lush culinary festival that is L.A.
                                                                                                  (I've lived and eaten well in Chicago, NYC, NOLA and Paris, and I KNOW SoCal is blessed with great food, abundant flavors and inspiring food venues).
                                                                                                  Since you are on the Westside, I think you should try Cholada Thai Beach Cuisine on PCH at Topanga Canyon.
                                                                                                  (IMHO, Chandni is about Tandori fish or chicken, NOT their buffet, and Natalee ain't "OK", it's barely fair fare)

                                                                                                  20 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: VenusCafe
                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                    m3tan Apr 20, 2013 07:59 AM

                                                                                                    It's stunning that people quote "vapid culinary desert" time and time again out of context. I said that is the reputation, but in fact LA has great ethnic food if you are willing to go to the ethnic neighborhoods. The problem is trendy LA doesn't know the first thing about good food. Whereas GREAT ethnic restaurants are sprinkled all over NY and SF, not just the ethnic neighborhoods.

                                                                                                    Please reread the title of my thread. Great Thai or Indian in the WESTSIDE. Emphasis on the WESTSIDE. Jitlada is in Thai Town. I've been there. Good but not great. Again, we have young kids. Leaving the Westside at 530PM to arrive for a 7-730PM casual dinner is just not worth it. Take them and it's a ton of stress. Leave them and we pay a fortune for a sitter. Cholada is fair.

                                                                                                    Since I started this thread, I've tried several more Thai restaurants in the WETSIDE. Si Laa on Robertson is easily the best. A little overpriced but I don't mind considering almost everything else on the WESTSIDE is awful.

                                                                                                    As for Indian, Lawrence of India is probably the best I've found. Still doesn't compare to the top Indian in the Bay Area, but as I've confirmed with many South Asians, the Bay Area is unparalleled for Indian food because of the massive population up there.

                                                                                                    Also Chandni is vegetarian so I have no idea what you are talking about... fish... chicken...

                                                                                                    1. re: m3tan
                                                                                                      Servorg Apr 20, 2013 08:19 AM

                                                                                                      If you haven't tried Ekkamai http://www.ekkamairestaurant.com/ for Thai here on the west side then you ought to do so. As to great Indian, we are a lot closer to Little India than we are to the Bay area and ought to be the first choice of locations for those living in the LA area for Indian food. If you haven't tried places like Surati Farsan Mart, Udupi Palace and Tirupathi Bhima then that area and these places ought to be your first stop. But for west side Indian you really ought to get some food for take out at Zam Zam market in Culver City (especially excellent biryani).

                                                                                                      1. re: m3tan
                                                                                                        e
                                                                                                        Ernie Apr 20, 2013 08:20 AM

                                                                                                        "I said that is the reputation, but in fact LA has great ethnic food if you are willing to go to the ethnic neighborhoods. The problem is trendy LA doesn't know the first thing about good food. Whereas GREAT ethnic restaurants are sprinkled all over NY and SF, not just the ethnic neighborhoods."

                                                                                                        You do realize you are comparing two cities that would barely register a blip within LA City limits, right? SF is only about 50 square miles and Manhattan is roughly half of that

                                                                                                        LA is nearly 500 square miles in area and you have chosen to live in a part that has never been known for good Asian (or Latino) food, so naturally you will need to travel out a bit to get the best of those two types of cuisine.

                                                                                                        1. re: m3tan
                                                                                                          c
                                                                                                          CulverJack Apr 20, 2013 09:42 AM

                                                                                                          You make some very good points m3. Excellent in either category just isn't here. For Thai, you can get good (to my tastes Thai Boom and Ekkamai), known well on this board, or nice and trendy (Chan Dara) with passable food but not excellent. I looked at Si Laa and put it in the same trendy but unremarkable category, BTW, but we'll give it a try now based on your rec. On the Asian front more generally though, not so much Thai, there are def some interesting things happening now. I've had excellent at both Lukshon and at Red Medicine, and they are both pretty consistent. Definitely $$$, but at least interesting and consistent, and I think there's value in that.

                                                                                                          For Indian, much the same, no question. In my mind, and I'm sure it's been stated 58 times on this board, just not enough ethnic density (or those who care like we do) to warrant anything different. I noticed though that Lawrence of India looks like its changed over to Mama's Indian Kitchen, so "that may be that". I really liked Lawrence too, that was our goto. But as Servorg recs, Zam Zam is not to be missed. Ethereal Biryani and Chicken Tikka. Limited, and funky, but it seriously rocks. And pound for pound the best ethic value for miles.

                                                                                                          Other than those few, if you care, you drive. If you know your routes, Thai Town is generally 1/2 hour. Unless you're in deep SM, in which case all bets are off. Move to Culver City, we'd love to have you. And you'd be that much closer to Zam Zam.

                                                                                                          1. re: CulverJack
                                                                                                            echoparkdirt Apr 20, 2013 10:43 AM

                                                                                                            Not a big fan of Ekkamai. There's really no Indian or Thai I've had that's great on the west side but I haven't tried Lawrence yet. Bawarchi and Samosa House are appreciated for their prices and reasonably good food.

                                                                                                            Biryani at Zam Zam is a must.

                                                                                                            You can also try great Burmese food at jasmine

                                                                                                            1. re: echoparkdirt
                                                                                                              westsidegal Apr 20, 2013 11:19 AM

                                                                                                              i, too, am not a big fan of Ekkamai.
                                                                                                              that said, i have not had their curries which is what many people say is their strength. . . .

                                                                                                              1. re: echoparkdirt
                                                                                                                PaulF May 4, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                CulverJack is correct.

                                                                                                                Lawrence of India has been sold and is now Mama's Indian Kitchen. The owner of Mama's told us last night they bought Lawrence out, that Lawrence still has India's Sweet and Spice up the street and that he might be looking for a new location.

                                                                                                                But you won't be able to try Lawrence until he does.

                                                                                                                1. re: PaulF
                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                  Bjartmarr May 4, 2013 02:50 PM

                                                                                                                  Oh, that's so sad. I only got to eat at Lawrence a few times, but I loved it.

                                                                                                                  But you say that Lawrence owns the India Sweets and Spices on Venice? Does he do anything special there that's worth checking out?

                                                                                                                  Failing that, are there any other Goan restaurants in LA?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bjartmarr
                                                                                                                    PaulF May 5, 2013 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                    I don't know the answers to your questions, actually.

                                                                                                                    I was just repeating what the new owners told us when when we chatted with him and don't know of any other Goan restaurants.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bjartmarr
                                                                                                                      l
                                                                                                                      Lee by the Sea May 22, 2013 01:46 AM

                                                                                                                      Yes, there is one, and it is very good indeed. Addi's Tandoor, 800 Torrance Bl in Redondo Beach, is owned by a guy from Goa. In the 1990s he had a small restaurant on Rosecrans Av near the 405. His Lamb Vindaloo is vinegary, plenty spicy, and totally free of the tomato sauce which doesn't belong in it.

                                                                                                                      Re m3tan's comment on Amber in SF, I agree that we have nothing at its level in LA (been to Amber two or three times and have dined Indian in LA and the UK since the 1970s). Not sure, though, that SF has anything else to match Amber, nor for that matter anything to match Bombay Brasserie in London (old OR new versions).

                                                                                                                      That said, see if you can try Mayura's Kerala Fish Curry sometime.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Lee by the Sea
                                                                                                                        i
                                                                                                                        ilysla May 22, 2013 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                        Is Bombay Brasserie a good place to go for Indian in London (feel free to respond)? I went to Moti Mahal and Woodlands (Piccadilly) recently and thought there good but not amazing.

                                                                                                                        To bring the thread back to LA, has anyone tried Streets of India in Encino? I rather like their food and am wondering what other people think of it....

                                                                                                                        1. re: Lee by the Sea
                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                          Bjartmarr Jun 7, 2013 11:32 PM

                                                                                                                          THANK YOU! I'll try Addi's.

                                                                                                                          I've tried Mayura's Kerala Fish Curry. They put salmon in it, which is IMO absolutely the wrong fish for that dish.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Lee by the Sea
                                                                                                                            f
                                                                                                                            FoodObsessive Jun 9, 2013 12:15 AM

                                                                                                                            Addi's is very good - if Addi is there, ask him to select a Goan meal - he sometimes includes off-menu items that are excellent.

                                                                                                                    2. re: CulverJack
                                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                                      m3tan Apr 29, 2013 07:19 PM

                                                                                                                      Sadly we're deep in SM so YES all bets are off. Even Culver City is "FAR". And sorry not going to move as we save $40k a year by not having to send kids to private school. I'll suffer with my lack of ethnic food options but I'll still gripe about it...

                                                                                                                      1. re: m3tan
                                                                                                                        l
                                                                                                                        latindancer about 2 hours ago

                                                                                                                        The best thing you can do (been there done that) is to forget about your previous location, in this case SF.
                                                                                                                        LA's a far cry from SF…in all regards. Restaurants are different, traffic's different for the most part (I've been through living hell traffic jams in SF and hated it). I've eaten in great restaurants in SF and crap restaurants that were hailed as stellar.
                                                                                                                        Let it go…it'll make life a hell of alot easier if you do. I was given this advice a long time ago by a very prolific CH'er and it paid off royally.

                                                                                                                    3. re: m3tan
                                                                                                                      v
                                                                                                                      VenusCafe Apr 28, 2013 10:02 AM

                                                                                                                      Cholada isn't even fair. I suggested it b/c it is on the westside.
                                                                                                                      I misspoke regarding Chandni; many years ago when they were on Main st in CC they did have a tandoori oven.

                                                                                                                    4. re: VenusCafe
                                                                                                                      a
                                                                                                                      AlkieGourmand Apr 29, 2013 06:38 PM

                                                                                                                      In my opinion, the food at Jitlada is carelessly prepared and served with indifference. The only reason Jitlada gets any mention is because of the exoticness of its menu. I have tasted some amazing dishes at Jitlada, but most of the time I leave thinking the food was slop. And time and time again, the service is unconscionably bad.

                                                                                                                      1. re: AlkieGourmand
                                                                                                                        b
                                                                                                                        bulavinaka Apr 29, 2013 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                        Agreed. I'm no Jitlada expert - only been twice - your points remind me why I have no desire to go back.

                                                                                                                        1. re: AlkieGourmand
                                                                                                                          d
                                                                                                                          Dirtywextraolives Apr 29, 2013 07:27 PM

                                                                                                                          I don't know, I haven't been there often, but I have not encountered your description of "carelessly prepared food" and indifferent service. I took my MIL there right after her trip to Southeast Asia, where she had a fabulous experience in Thailand. She was quite impressed with the food, as was I. And Jazz came up to our table and chatted with us at length. So perhaps it depends on what time of day you go?? We went for lunch.....

                                                                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
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                                                                                                                            bulavinaka Apr 29, 2013 07:32 PM

                                                                                                                            For us, it was dinner on the weekend both times.

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                                                                                                                        Thor123 Apr 20, 2013 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                        Emporium Thai on Westwood is very good. Night & Market on Sunset is authentic Thai street food and. A lot of fun.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Thor123
                                                                                                                          omotosando May 1, 2013 12:23 AM

                                                                                                                          I have eaten at Emporium Thai five or six times over the last month and the food is consistently mediocre. I am done giving it a try. I don't think they use quality ingredients and the food does not taste fresh.

                                                                                                                          The sticky rice is gross and gummy. Perhaps sitting around and re-nuked? The som tom, one of my favorite foods in the world, has a funky, unappetizing flavor.

                                                                                                                          I don't think anyone who likes this place has ever really had good Thai food.

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                                                                                                                            andi3 May 1, 2013 12:29 AM

                                                                                                                            agreed. Emporium mediocre at best.
                                                                                                                            Tanzore has a good chef.

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                                                                                                                              BSW6490 May 18, 2013 09:58 AM

                                                                                                                              Totally disagree. I had the opportunity to talk to the owner and they are constantly refining their menu and use local produce. Also, only place that has a great selection of Southern Thai.

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                                                                                                                          Dirtywextraolives Apr 29, 2013 07:38 PM

                                                                                                                          And just my limited two cents re: Westside Indian. Although I would agree if someone were to describe the Palisades as a "vapid culinary desert", one of the very few above average places we have is the Taj Palace. The place has been there as long as I've been in the Palisades (going on 12 years) and the family that runs it is super nice. The masalas, vindaloos and korma are delicious, as are the sides of naan, mutter pilau and pakoras. I haven't had but my FIL loved the tandoori mixed grill, and he's been eating Indian for 40+ years, most recently, as in the last 20, up north in Mtn View, Menlo Park, SF and Palo Alto.....so you may want to check them out. Place is never full but they do a helluva take out business. Open 7 days.

                                                                                                                          http://www.tajpalacepalisades.com/

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                                                                                                                            lakeshow318 May 18, 2013 06:26 AM

                                                                                                                            Hopeless and here's a funny take on the probable reason.

                                                                                                                            http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/20...

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                                                                                                                            1. re: lakeshow318
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                                                                                                                              BrewNChow May 18, 2013 07:49 PM

                                                                                                                              Culver City has the best Pakistani place in God only knows how many miles (all of SoCal at least). Wouldn't call it hopeless

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                                                                                                                                bulavinaka May 19, 2013 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                                I only glanced through the blog writeup, but it seems that it's an attempt at blaming "whitey" for being white and taking up all the land along the coast, and leaving the "leftover crappy real estate" for the poor hapless minorities. I detest these kinds of inferences and I'm not even white. I'm sure more people than not would prefer to live in a coastal climate (Sunset zone 24) particularly when the weather is 85+ degrees or on days when the smog is thick over the civic center. But rents/buying into this area tends to be out of reach for so many.

                                                                                                                                Unlike many areas where a major determinant in real estate prices is the quality of local schools (the average LAUSD school is pretty sucky), LA's real estate prices are almost strictly based on supply and demand relative to weather and proximity to work/conveniences.

                                                                                                                                Cultures tend to congregate. Economics also plays a huge part into where people end up living. Immigrants tend to be poor. They move to areas that they can minimally afford. The list is far too long to mention. Recent examples of the opposite are Iranians, Japanese and Taiwanese in the 70s-80s who moved into areas like the Westside, South Bay and SGV. I've been seeing a recent influx of Russians, Indians and Brazilians into the Westside as well. All three groups are from countries that have recently experienced far better economic times. These immigrants came either as monied, educated or both; thus, living in higher demand real estate.

                                                                                                                                The African-American population had a huge presence in Venice - primarily in Oakwood (Lincoln/California/Abbot Kinney/Rose). This demographic has been slowly moving out because many have been and are still cashing out on their long-held properties. They bought in back in the early-mid 60s and are now living in gold mines. $1,000,000-2,000,000 is currently standard for a house in what was once considered the worst area in the Westside. Developers have been buying up the properties and either rehabbing them or scraping them clean and building two or three units in their place.

                                                                                                                                And since rent is the major determining factor as to what kind of business will open their doors there, I seriously doubt that a mom&pop ethnic dive serving traditional dishes is going to have the financial warewithal for a place on Abbot Kinney or Downtown Culver City. The last such place on Abbot Kinney just sold out a couple of months ago (Glencrest Bar-B-Que). The offering price for the shop made the owner and long-time resident an instant millionaire - he could never dream of making that kind of money selling his 'que.

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                                                                                                                                  ilysla May 19, 2013 10:43 AM

                                                                                                                                  The school district point you bring up is important, though. My real estate agent recently told me that he had an Asian family that had a price range of $2,000,000 - 7,000,000 and was wondering if I knew anyone in San Marino that was selling (b/c I grew up in the area). The Taiwanese people who came over in the 80s specifically wanted to live in San Marino b/c of the strength of the SMUSD. Had Santa Monica's schools been as strong (their HS isn't nearly as high ranked), I'm sure we would've seen many more Asian people living there, since westside prices were actually significantly less than San Marino 20-30 yrs ago.... Part of it is also cultural in the sense that many Chinese people simply don't care about living "the beach life"....

                                                                                                                                  Additionally, I can't help but think that the even *more* expensive areas w/i LA have something to do w/ the fact that many of those areas have good charter schools in the area (the Palisades and NW Brentwood, Little Holmby).

                                                                                                                                  Anyway, to get back to the actual point of the thread, my partner and I enjoy All India Cafe at the corner of Bundy and Santa Monica (NW strip mall). The sauces are quite thick (which I realize some people don't like), but they're very flavorful, actually have a distinct taste (which is a problem I have w/ other indian restaurants), and the manager is quite kind (he remembered from our first visit several wks ago and remember what sauce I liked!). We had the chicken masala and mixed tandoori grill (sausage, chicken, lamb, shrimp, salmon), and both were fantastic.

                                                                                                                                  I also think India's Grill on La Cienaga is also good (although suffers from the "every-sauce-tastes-the-same" problem). I mentioned it above when the thread began last yr (!).

                                                                                                                                  I tried Emporium Thai several yrs ago twice and thought it was okay but was not particularly interested in going back. May have to try it again.

                                                                                                                                  My partner and I like Siam Chan (which is more Chinese-Thai). It's not really "chow worthy" but it's cheap, filling, and easy for us to get to, which is sometimes trumps absolute quality (sorry).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka
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                                                                                                                                    Dirtywextraolives May 19, 2013 01:19 PM

                                                                                                                                    Very well said.

                                                                                                                                2. PaulF Jun 9, 2013 12:37 AM

                                                                                                                                  Does Night + Market count?

                                                                                                                                  I've never been to Thailand, couldn't tell you if any particular dish is authentic or even if that matters.

                                                                                                                                  I can say that every time I've been to Night + Market I've really enjoyed the food, including tonight.

                                                                                                                                  The place has gotten really popular, too. Never seen it so crowded. The hostess told me they've gotten some recent good write ups, thus the crowd tonight.

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: PaulF
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                                                                                                                                    Thor123 Jun 9, 2013 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                    Love Night & Market. That and Emporium Thai in Westwood are by far the best choices.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: PaulF
                                                                                                                                      Ciao Bob Jun 11, 2013 04:40 PM

                                                                                                                                      It counts.
                                                                                                                                      It is great.
                                                                                                                                      It is authentic as it gets.
                                                                                                                                      Eat it UPPPP!

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                                                                                                                                      m3tan 2 days ago

                                                                                                                                      Updating this thread I started a while back - Badmaash downtown is EASILY the best Indian food I've found in LA. Not traditional by any means - it's a hipster nouveau Indian gastropub. But don't let the appearance deceive you. Some seriously good and authentic Indian food. Too bad it's not on the Westside but it's my go to place to eat if I'm ever downtown...

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